Key into Public Service Scholarship

Website: The Phi Beta Kappa Society


The Phi Beta Kappa Society is a leading national advocate for the value of arts and sciences education. Our newest program, Key into Public Service, highlights the wide range of opportunities for liberal arts graduates to pursue rewarding careers in local, state, or federal government.

The Society invites applications from liberal arts and sciences students enrolled at any one of Phi Beta Kappa’s 290 chapter institutions (including UW) who expect to graduate later than fall of the following academic year. First year students are NOT eligible. The Society will award Service Scholars with a $5,000 undergraduate scholarship and will participate in a conference that provides training, mentoring, and reflection on pathways into local, state, and federal government careers.

Phi Beta Kappa will select a national cohort of up to 20 liberal arts and science students who have demonstrated both (1) interest in working in the public sector and (2) academic excellence, with breadth and depth in the arts, humanities, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences.

The Society will announce the award to successful applicants in spring.

We strongly encourage you to learn more about Phi Beta Kappa’s work as an advocate for the liberal arts and sciences before completing your application. Phi Beta Kappa is committed to highlighting the value of expertise in the arts, humanities, mathematics, natural sciences and social sciences in service to communities and to the nation. We see the recognition and support of Service Scholars as integral to these goals (

Preferred Characteristics for Applicants:

  • Intellectual Curiosity: Ideas excite you and you learn from many viewpoints. You are passionate about your arts and sciences education, and eager to learn more about the world around you.
  • Breadth and Interdisciplinary Depth: You demonstrate academic excellence in your arts, humanities, mathematics, natural science, or social science major with a minimum 3.5 grade point average. In addition, you also take a range of coursework outside your primary field of interest as demonstrated in your transcript and can communicate why a well-rounded education matters. 
  • Leadership: You can identify how you influence others positively, either on or off campus through academic research, campus extracurricular activities, internships, employment, or community organizing.
  • Service to Others: You would like to pursue a career in government or another form of public service to serve the common good. You can show a meaningful commitment to others by your participation in volunteer/community service activities. 
  • Undergraduate students (excluding first year students) at colleges and universities that have a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa on their campus. Membership in Phi Beta Kappa is not required for eligibility. 
  • You must have a minimum grade point average of 3.5 while demonstrating academic excellence in your arts, humanities, mathematics, natural science, or social science major.
  • You will need to provide the name of a professor or faculty member who can attest to your academic achievements and/or interest in public service.
  • You must also commit to attend the convening for all award recipients to receive the award. This mandatory convening will provide training and mentoring opportunities on pathways from liberal arts and sciences education into active citizenship and public service. 
Student Type
  • sophomore
  • junior
Citizen Type
Contact Information

Have other questions? Let us know!

Phi Beta Kappa Society

1606 New Hampshire Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20009